This week I became an Ananda minister. I’ve played the role of assistant minister for some time so this step was a natural one, but I still found myself a bit surprised.
Ananda doesn’t have a seminary or a list of requirements that must be met before one can serve as a minister. There is no diploma that is issued, a test that must be passed, or any outward achievement that puts one on the minister role call. Yoga is about inward unfoldment and discovery. It is also about directional energy – meaning: What step will help us move toward greater expansion, conscious awareness and self-forgetfulness? The invitation to serve as a minister in the Ananda Portland Sangha was a recognition of commitment and attunement; but even more importantly, it was a loving challenge to keep moving in the right direction.
We are beings of energy and energy is movement. You can’t stay in one place if you are a sincere seeker on the spiritual path; energy is always flowing in some direction. It may look like the place you are standing is a really nice place to be for a while. To just stand and look out at the scenery and be comfortable is a sweet temptation. But very soon the waves of the world are washing the sand out from under your feet and you have to move or get sucked under.
So now I am a minister and I realize that I was a little too comfortable where I was. Now there is a new mirror to look into and check myself for wrong thinking. The title “minister” is just a minor part in the play of life, but I want to play it sincerely and wholeheartedly, so I thought memorizing the Prayer for Ordination of Ministers would be a good idea. It is simple:
I offer my life in service, to be a channel for Thy ray, Thy love.
May my body express Your energy.
May my hands express Your servicefulness to all men.
May my eyes express Thy joy.
May my heart express Thy love.
May my voice be rich with the harmony of Your presence.
Use me as your instrument,
always in the awareness,
that Thou art the Doer, not I.
You may notice that there is nothing passive about the prayers at Ananda; Self-Realization comes with very intense activity for God! But it’s the inward movement of energy that is important, not the outward activity or label. This prayer could be used by anyone who seeks to forget the little self and move toward greater freedom and joy.
Minister is not just a role at church; it is an attitude and self-offering for all the circumstances of our lives. As I helped hold squealing guinea pigs this afternoon so my daughter could clip their claws, I had to laugh as the thought came across my mind, “Is this what Ananda ministers do?” Yes, that’s what they do – whatever it takes to move the energy in the right direction and be an instrument for God’s presence.
In divine friendship,